Iran’s Rouhani admits failures, blames the ‘enemy’

President Hassan Rouhani speaking during a cabinet meeting earlier this year. (File photo: AFP)

Iran’s government has failed to deliver many of the promises it made because the country has been in a “state of war,” President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Critics of the Islamic Republic say that its funding of extremist groups across the region including Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria are the reason behind the rising tensions with Iran.

Prior to winning the presidential elections in 2017, Rouhani had said that he had a 100-day plan to tackle internal and external issues, and after becoming president, he made more than 40 promises.

“The government made its promises at a time of peace, but we are currently in a state of war, and the conditions of peace and war differ,” said Rouhani.

“This is a war we did not initiate … the enemy started this war,” he added.

The “enemy” has been in a “full-scale economic war” against Iran since 2018, said Rouhani, in a reference to sanctions imposed by the US, which have reduced oil exports to a trickle and reduced its access to hard currency.

Rouhani added, “The enemies have realised that they cannot force us to surrender through maximum pressure … their goal is to take us to the negotiating table and make us accept whatever they say, but that is impossible.”

Rouhani claimed that Iran’s economy has held its ground despite sanctions, saying, “Our nation has no problems in daily life and in providing its urgent needs. Statistics show that employment in the country has not been affected by sanctions and we were somewhat able to control inflation in the spring of this year.”

Inflation in Iran is estimated at about 35 percent, and the country was rocked by the biggest protests in decades last month when the government tripled the price of petrol overnight. It is estimated that 1,500 people were killed in a brutal security crackdown that included shutting off the internet for the entire country.

“They thought that they would put pressure on our nation for a few months, and then the people come out in the streets … but this is maximum ignorance and miscalculation as our people are well aware of who is putting pressure on them,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani made no specific mention of the protests.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56